Operation Poncho Recovery
Like all great stories involving ponchos, it began with rain.
Kris and I walked to Akureyri’s city limits as it rained–the sort of rain that feels like walking through a thick cloud. Thankfully, we only waited for 20 minutes before the most delightful Icelandic-American picked us up. I crinkled up my poncho and dropped it non-chalantly on the floor.
Our hitchhost, Steven, is an inspirational fellow who described giving $5 and a pack of cigarettes to a homeless man every time that he saw him, about once a week. The man wasn’t at his usual spot for several weeks, causing Steven to worry. The next time that Steven saw the homeless man, he was wearing a suit, no longer homeless, and working a job that he loved. The man gave our hitchhost personal credit for his feat. This is the sort of wonderful people that you’ll meet if you take to the roads.
We told Steven to drop us off wherever he thought we might enjoy, so he had the wonderful idea of taking us to Borgarvirki, the ruins of a Viking fort. He even drove us 20 minutes out of the way to drop us off. But as soon as he drove away, I realized that I left my poncho in his car. I tried to run after him, but he didn’t look back.
This was the 2nd poncho that I’d lost while hitchhiking in Iceland. I was not about to buy a 3rd poncho for $16–just out of principle. I vowed to find him.
Where else did we have to be anyways?
More Than We Expected
Steven told us that he lived in the next town over and worked in the only restaurant there. Really, it was the easiest piece of detective work. After the coldest night that we’d spent in our tent, battling wind and loose tent stakes, we walked 10 km to the road, hitched twice to get into his town and spent the day in the local pool warming up in their geothermal hot tub.
When we walked up to his restaurant, he was outside smoking. He was thrilled to see us again. He said that if we stayed for dinner, he’d give us a discount. We had only eaten out once in the past two weeks, so that sounded grand to us. By the time that we left with my poncho, he had given us two amazing local beers and then he wouldn’t even allow us to pay for our appetizer and our shared hamburger. And this was high class food. I said that I wanted to do something to repay him for his kindness. He said to just pass it on. That, I can do. Thank you, Steven. You’re the sort of person that I strive to be.
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